From the West coast
A fascinating ten-year archive of letters from one
the most beautiful parts of Scotland,
its people, places, landscape and wildlife.
"Strachur is a small, sleepy, sprawling West Highland village spread along the north eastern shore of Loch Fyne - the longest sea loch in Scotland. This is a very dramatic and beautiful part of Scotland, full of ancient history, magnificent forests and wildlife..."
Letters from Argyll
- September '98 Introduction
- October '98 Half Hung Archie
- November '98 Magnus Barelegs
- December '98 Pantomime
- January '99 Storms and Gardens
- February '99 Campbells and midges
- March '99 Macleans and birdsong
- April '99 Loch Eck and Spring
- May/June '99 Dunoon and Squirrels
- Summer '99 Glasgow
- Autumn '99 Colour and Rowans
- Winter '00 Siskins and Finches
- Spring/summer '00 Puck's Glen
- Autumn '00 Macbeth and a Squirrel
- Spring 2001 Town and Country
- Summer 2001 From Scotia to Dunadd
- Winter 2001 Bridge over the Atlantic
- Summer 2002 Cowal and 3 Squirrels
- Autumn 2002 Smiddy and Stones
- Winter 2002 Bagpipes, deer and jays.
- Spring 2003 Rest and Be Thankful.
- Summer 2003 3 lochs and a castle
- Autumn 2003 A Beaut of an Isle
- Winter 2003 The bonnie banks
- Spring 2004 The Hollow Mountain
- Summer 2004 Kintyre Peninsula 1
- Autumn 2004 Kintyre Peninsula 2
- Winter 2004 Arrochar Gateway to Argyll
- Spring 2005 A Walker's Paradise
- Summer 2005 Scotland in Miniature
- Autumn 2005 Skye - The Misty Isle
- Winter 2005 Across the Water
- Spring 2006 The Crossroads of Scotland
- Summer 2006 Calling all seafarers
- Autumn 2006 A day out in the rain
- Winter 2006 A Winter's Day Out
- Spring 2007 A Favourite Place
- Summer 2007 Bonnie Galloway
- Autumn 2007 Port Appin
- Winter 2007 Loch Fyne and a Fine Dram!
- Spring 2008 Snow mountains and Spring!
- Summer 2008 A Walk in the Park
I'm going to surprise you this time and take you out of Argyll altogether to a place which is very dear to my heart - my home town - Glasgow!
Now I know you all come to Scotland for the hills and glens but an awful lot of you also take in Edinburgh, so if you're so interested in spending a day or two in a city you should give yourselves a treat and visit Glasgow instead... Oh I know it has always had a bad press, and yes it has its problems - just like every other major city in the world, but did you know that this year it is the European City of Architecture, that it has many art galleries and all the public ones have no admission charges, it has an underground subway, just opened the largest undercover shopping mall in Europe - Buchanan Galleries? The Scottish Academy of Music and Drama is situated right in the centre of the city, we have a Concert Hall, Ballet and Opera Companies, Glasgow School of Art, just minutes away from the Academy, was designed by Charles Rennie McIntosh and the Mitchell Library is the largest reference library in Europe. All of the city built round the River Clyde which now has fish in it again! The list is endless, but as well as all of the above, Glasgow has the friendliest people in the world. If you were to board a bus and ask the driver to let you know when you get to your destination, you will have a chorus of senior citizens offering their help in getting you there and by the time you get off the bus they will know your life story! There are plenty of hotels to choose from, there is a restaurant for almost every country in the world and the city nightlife is second to none.
So consider yourself informed and give it some thought - you won't be disappointed. I have got to know so many people who came to work in Glasgow in fear and trepidation and ended up staying on because they just fell in love with the place. If you decide to try it out visit The Burrell Collection, The Art Galleries, Huntarian Museum, Buchanan Street and particularly Princes Square - a very select small shopping mall off Buchanan Street, Charing Cross and Sauchiehall Street. If you're feeling particularly adventurous visit the area of Partick; a very busy part of Glasgow that the developers in the '70s did not pull down but re-furbished and regenerated.
On the Burnside Cottage front - great excitement! Alvin and I were honoured to be witnesses at the marriage, in Tarbert Loch Fyne, of Erin and Garth Jolly from Alberta, Canada. We hope they will have a wonderful life in their new home in California.
A BBC team will arrive on the 1st August to shoot a pilot for a new sit-com in Strachur and not only are some of the cast staying at Burnside Cottage, but I have the chance to be an extra for a day!
As if all this weren't enough, Shirley has found a mate - fine looking fellow is he not - and they have produced two youngsters. We are now knee deep in red squirrels at the cottage. Also the Greater Spotted Woodpecker has a mate and son - our garden posts bear witness to their visits - they look like Swiss cheeses! Many of our guests at the cottage have remarked on the number and variety of birdlife which invades the garden - they are certainly all breeding very successfully - and breakfasts are always interrupted by photo sessions and laughter at their antics.
We've had a real mixture of lots of rain and very hot sunny days so the garden has become really overgrown - unfortunately the rainy days coincide with my days off work and when you come home in the dry evenings the midges are waiting to eat you, so progress is slow.
Well that's us caught up for another few months! Hope your summer is great.
"Where the magnificence of the scenery is matched only by the beauty of visiting wildlife."
Text and photographs © Pamela Mackinnon.